October 22, 2019
GOVERNOR CUOMO CALLS ON DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES TO INVESTIGATE DEED FRAUD AND DECEPTIVE PRACTICES TARGETING HOMEOWNERS IN BROOKLYN
Directs Department of Financial Services to Dispatch Foreclosure Relief Unit to Assist Affected Homeowners
Urges Affected Homeowners to Call DFS Hotline (800) 342-3736 for Assistance
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today called on the New York State Department of Financial Services to launch an investigation after a troubling report described instances of apparent deed fraud and deceptive practices targeted at homeowners in Brooklyn. The Governor also directed DFS to dispatch the Department's Foreclosure Relief Unit to provide assistance to homeowners who believe they may have been a victim of deed fraud or unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices in regard to the sale or attempted purchase of their home. Finally, the Governor urged affected homeowners to call the DFS foreclosure relief hotline - (800) 342-3736 - for assistance.
"The illegal and deceptive actions to rob New Yorkers of their homes reported today are disgraceful and must be stopped," Governor Cuomo said. "I am calling on the state Department of Financial Services to investigate these transactions and the entities behind this deceptive behavior, and to deploy foreclosure relief services to affected communities so we can start helping impacted homeowners now. Anyone found guilty of this repugnant behavior will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
"The conduct described in this article is reprehensible and has no place in New York State. The Department of Financial Services will use every available resource to investigate and hold accountable any individuals and entities that engaged in deceptive and illegal practices to deprive New Yorkers of their homes," Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell said. "In response to Governor Cuomo's call for an investigation and steps to provide relief to homeowners, DFS is dispatching our team of foreclosure specialists to hear first-hand from those who may be victimized by deed fraud and other deceptive actions, and today is launching an investigation to ensure the State of New York holds any actors responsible for wrongdoing and victims get the restitution they deserve."
In August, Governor Cuomo signed legislation enhancing consumer protection measures and closing loopholes to prevent deed fraud and mortgage scams. The new law (A.5615/S.1688) provides better protections for homeowners whose homes are either in default or in foreclosure, increasing the likelihood that a victim will have the opportunity to seek recovery in court.
The Department of Financial Services' Foreclosure Relief Unit is a statewide program to assist New York homeowners already in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure. Homeowners who believe they may have been a victim of deed fraud or unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices in regard to the sale or attempted purchase of their home, may call the Foreclosure Relief Hotline at (800) 342-3736, or visit: www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/help_for_homeowners for more information or to file a complaint.
The Foreclosure Relief Unit:
- Provides information on available federal programs;
- Answers inquiries about the foreclosure process;
- Assists homeowners in their efforts to obtain loan modifications and other relief; and
- Takes complaints from aggrieved homeowners and seek resolutions with banks and mortgage servicers.